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Archive for February 8th, 2017

Stack a Deck

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Stack a Deck (The Weir Chronicles – 4) by Sue Duff

Ian’s alliance with the rebels brings the wrath of the Pur army crashing down on them, but he is forced to abandon his new allies and travels to Earth’s alternate universe to rescue Rayne. As Ian combs the strange, desolate planet in search for her, he discovers the true story of the Weir and his connection to Earth’s imminent destruction.

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Catch up on the series by reading Fade to BlackMasks and Mirrors and Sleight of Hand!

Love Audiobooks? You can also listen to Fade to Black through Audible.

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Want more? Join The Weir Chronicles Fan List for exciting news and updates on special events, giveaways and upcoming books in the series!

 Sue Duff

Author’s Bio

Sue has been writing since high school but never became serious about it until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black, was a finalist in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest. By day, she’s a dedicated speech-language therapist in an inner city school district to pay the bills but her life as a writer is her true passion and the creative outlet keeps her sane.

She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers. Her creativity extends into her garden and the culinary arts. She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen.

Connect with her through email at sueduffauthor@gmail.com or to get the latest news, updates on events or the scoop on future novels in The Weir Chronicles series, subscribe to her email list.

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My Review

5 stars

Ian has travelled to Threa to try and find Rayne. He learns the truth of the Heirs and what his role in this war. But he is bound and determined to find Rayne no matter what he faces in his trip around Threa. At the same time Jaered is trying to train Patrick, which is not progressing as he hoped. Patrick is more focused on finding Tara than learning about his power. And they all are hiding from both Aeros and Primary who are hunting everyone down and determined to destroy Earth.

This series just keeps getting better and better. Everyone is scattered and trying to lay low while worried about each other. Ian is so focused on getting Rayne that it is a shock learning the truth about the Heirs, Aeros, and his mother and aunt. He has a huge adventure as he treks across Threa and discovered new dangers from the world dying.

Then there is Patrick and Jaered. Patrick is so blinded by his love for Tara that he thinks finding her will be enough for her to be with him. He is completely distracted and Jaered is fighting an uphill battle trying to teach him. He does realize that real life training is going to be more effective but is having a hard time with his patience.

I love this series and can’t wait to see how it ends. Just when you think you might know what is around the corner you get one heck of a surprise and are completely thrown for a loop. I really love how it touches on my apocalyptic/dystopian stories as the characters dance on a razor blade to keep things from collapsing.

This is a great series and one that would appeal to those that enjoy young adult stories. Now I’m very excited for the last book in the series yet hesitant to leave this world.

I received Stack a Deck from Sami at Roger Charlie for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Praise for the Series

“A stunning debut with a thrilling mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Duff has a real hit on her hands.”

–Roxanne Kade, blogger at Therian

 

“I recommend this to anyone who loves a good Sci-fi esque, fantasy, dystopian, secret-war-going-on-behind-the-human’s-backs-and-right-under-their-noses sort of book.”

— Jaay V, blogger at Reckless Indulgence

 

“This is one series that I recommend to readers of fantasy and paranormal romances.  It just keeps getting better and better. Just when you think you might know what’s going on, there are new twists that get added in.”

— Jessica Bronder, blogger at J Bronder Book Reviews

What Readers Are Saying

What an explosive adventure! I am definitely hooked!”

“A riveting adventure from start to finish. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.”

“You may lose sleep. The action is fast paced and it’s refreshing to see a book in this genre with a male protagonist! I truly enjoyed his journey to self-discovery.”

“I love that Sue Duff does not dumb down her writing to make everything repetitious each time – she let’s you figure out the rules yourself while you read.  Her style of writing really suits the smart world-building, and I also fell so in love with the characters.”

“A magical tale filled with likeable characters.”

Q&A with Sue Duff

We’re now on book four in the Weir Chronicles. Can you tell us where readers will find Ian Black in Stack a Deck?

Ian has been forced to turn his back on the Pur Weir and align himself with the rebels to rescue Rayne.  When he travels to Earth’s alternate universe, he finds himself powerless and struggles to survive the dangerous planet while staying one step ahead of Aeros.

Since there may be some readers that haven’t yet read Fade to Black, Masks and Mirrors and Sleight of Hand, can you catch them up on what they’ve missed?

In Fade to Black, the main protagonist and “superhero” is Ian Black. Born the last of the Weir, all hope rests on him to save the planet, but he doesn’t inherit the powers as predicted. Tortured in a last ditch effort to bring his supposed powers to the surface, he escapes and hides among the humans as an illusionist – until a nosy college reporter uncovers his secret. Together, they discover a malevolent Weir who is sucking Earth’s energy and depleting its resources at an alarming rate.

The Weir are a race of magical beings who have served as caretakers of Earth for thousands of years and it is their connection to the planet that keeps what roams above in harmony with the energies that churn below. Unfortunately, they are becoming extinct and as a result, there is an intense rise of natural disasters across the globe. Desperate to save the earth and prevent the end of their race, the Weir turn to modern science to perpetuate themselves. But this philosophy separates their kind into two warring factions – the Pur and the Duach. To keep them from killing each other, and all but guaranteeing their extinction, a Curse is created by the Ancient counsel as a means of keeping them apart. Of course, as you could predict, the Weir soon discover it’s not wise to mess with Mother Nature!

A band of rebels, committed to stopping their mutual enemy, come on the scene in Masks and Mirrors, and give Ian reason to be suspicious as he struggles to uncover what ulterior motive they have for saving Earth.

In the third book, Sleight of Hand, Ian pursues answers in order to stop Earth’s natural disasters and eminent self-destruction, but the rebels have their own agenda and poison him.  Patrick and Rayne search for a cure and in so doing, Rayne ends up on Thrae, Earth’s alternate universe, while Patrick confronts the rebel leaders and learns the truth about the Weir.

What are your initial thoughts when thinking about your book(s)?

I write the way I like to read – short chapters that end with a cliffhanger so you can’t help but turn the page and read just ‘one more chapter.’ I’ve received feedback from individuals, who don’t typically read my genre, but end up loving my books. Others that aren’t big readers have finished my novels in one, two or three sittings!

What kind of research did you have to do for your book / series?

The fourth book was the most challenging of all, because I had to consider the worst future for Earth and ask the “what if” questions.  What if the ozone layer decayed? What if asteroids weren’t destroyed by the outer atmosphere and impacted the early regularly? What if the Earth’s core slowed its rotation and what affect that would have on the planet and to the gravitational pull on the moon? These facts are the basis for how Aeros affected Thrae, and since it ‘used to be’ the mirror image of Earth, I had to apply those results in this novel.

Do any pieces of the book come from personal experience?

When I was a teenager, we took a road trip up the California Coast and spent time in the redwood forests. I thought it was the most breathtaking place on Earth, which is why I have Ian living there in my stories.

What do you hope readers most get out of your book (or the series as a whole)?

Regardless of the naysayers,  believe in yourself and follow your own strengths and path in the world. Ian didn’t develop his powers as the prophecy predicted, and Rayne wasn’t the firstborn male Sar that her father desired. The fact that Ian turned to illusions in order to do what he couldn’t naturally (lack of powers in a magical world) is key to his character.  Tortured for what he had no control over, he discovered and nurtured something that he could control.

I also hope that my readers can accept that science can’t explain everything and embrace the wonders and mysteries in the universe. My favorite line from the first book is, “There will always be magic in the world, as long as we believe in what we don’t understand.”

You also released TICK TOCK, an anthology with six other Colorado authors this past year. How did that come together, and do you have anything planned for 2017?

Our first anthology, TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time, was nominated as Best Anthology of 2016 by UTOPIA Con in June, and we also won the silver medal for Best Anthology of 2016 and the gold medal for Best Book Cover through Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Awards in August! Our next anthology is based on short stories inspired by our favorite song.  In addition, we opened the second book up to submissions and received more than 45 from all over the world! After the marathon readings and critiques, we chose two that stood out above the rest and we’re excited to include them in the second anthology, releasing this spring.

So after working both solo and in tandem with other authors on a project, do you have a favorite method of writing?

There are pros to doing both!  I love my Wicked Ink team and we do so much to support each other.  It can be daunting to self-publish a novel, but with having a team, the burden can be shared by all – which makes it easier.  But…I also love writing on my own, because the final decisions and content are solely mine and I don’t feel so stressed by deadlines – albeit the ones I put on myself.  But truly, I have the best of both worlds!

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Goldsmith Jones

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Goldsmith Jones by Sam Taylor-Pye

San Francisco, 1863. Fourteen-year-old Goldsmith Jones is left stranded in crime-ridden, gangland territory. He finds himself living at The Shades, a home to local street kids.

While selling sexual favours downs the Dead Man’s Alley to survive, Jones is charmed by a seaman he knows as Sweet Virginia. Moving further away from the relative security that The Shades and his best friend, Raccoon, offered him, Jones is drawn ever closer to the manipulative Sweet Virginia.

When Raccoon falls gravely ill and is taken to convaless on the rural Rancheria, Jones is left under the controlling powers of the unscrupulous navvy.

Swindled and wrongly accused, he is unexpectedly rescued by the leader of the villanous Suarez Brothers, the charismatic Saul.

Faced with a choice between becoming Saul’s ‘little brother’ and saving Sweet Virginia’s life, Goldsmith Jones must embark on a dangerous journey which will change his young life forever.

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Author’s Bio

Sam Taylor-Pye grew up on the border between Washington state and British Columbia, Canada and currently lives in Kent in the UK. She received her BA from the Open University, and has an MA in Creative Writing. This is her first published novel.

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My Review

5 stars

The story takes place in San Francisco in 1863. Goldsmith Jones is 14 years old and has found himself an orphan on the streets. Another street kid finds Jones and takes him under his wing. There Jones learns that prostitution would be the easiest way for him to survive the streets. All the while Jones is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants from this world as he fights to stay alive with gangs and worse on the streets of San Francisco.

This is a brutal and harsh look into how kids were treated at the turn of the last century. They were taken advantage of, used, and then discarded like trash. The poor kid has to find any means to keep themselves alive. This book is quiet hard to read, but as you follow along with Jones you can’t help but hope that he will eventually be free of the abuse he suffers.

You can tell that the author has thoroughly researched San Francisco at the turn of the century and so much more. It is easy to get caught up in the tensions at the end of the civil war, the prejudices faced by many, and the double standards of those that act one way then claim to be another. As you read about Jones it is easy to get lost in this world. It’s brutal and dirty and just like watching it happen in real time.

If you are looking for a great story of San Francisco around the turn of the century and the hard lives that many lived, look no further. But just be aware, this is a very realistic look not to be taken lightly.

I received Goldsmith Jones from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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